But the child development major in me made me research a few other good ideas that are developmentally appropriate. So if you are looking for your child or as a gift for a friend, here are a few that I have found: (all pics courtesy of Toys R Us)
Moving Toys: Ride-on toys and anything that she can push or pull, such as toy lawnmowers, grocery carts, and doll strollers. It helps them as they learn to walk and push things and helps develop their motor skills. The Little Tikes car is a classic, and this one is their 30 year anniversary edition.
Arts: Large crayons or finger paints (nontoxic) so they can start learning about art mediums. These are first time markers for toddlers and easy to hold.
Music: We purchased our daughter a lot of musical instruments at Christmas as she loves them all! She takes Kindermusik classes too and research has shown how music can foster brain development, and creativeness. You can purchase inexpensive, durable instruments (a small drum, a set of maracas, a kazoo, etc.) that will last a long time! This one is made out of wood and is very simple and safe for toddlers.
Sorting, Emptying and filling: Any toy that allows your baby to put things in and take them out. You can give your baby a box or basket with a variety of small toys. Shape-sorters come in all shapes and sizes. Start by showing your baby which shape goes in which hole. Check out these simple blocks here
Manipulating Toys: These toys help with fine-motor skills. They're toys featuring switches, buttons, pulls, and other gadgets to keep little hands and fingers busy. This one from Toys R Us teaches how to get dressed.
Pretend Play: Toy kitchens stocked with pretend food, building sets, doctor kits, etc. All are great hits with babes and are a great way to start building their pretend play collection for years to come! You can purchase the big items like this one early as they will grow with it:
Or you can start small with plastic food:
Or a doctor's kit:
Can you tell how much I love pretend play?
Water/Splashing: Many toddlers love to play in the tub so it makes sense that they would want to play outside the tub with water. Water is a great sensory medium and they learn pouring, filling, sinking, and floating. My sister in law recommended a sand/water combo station like this Little Tikes toy:
Any other 12 month birthday gift ideas?